The Literacy Hats

The Literacy Hats
Parent Information
The ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the Literacy Hats approach
What is the thinking behind our approach to teaching and learning in
Critical Literacy is the ability to read texts in an active, reflective manner in
order to better understand increasingly complex ideas, structures and vocabulary
for different purposes. It involves reading critically – thinking about the identity
and intent of the writer, and the social and historical context in which the text
was written.
We have developed the use of the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy (see the back page
for more information) to support teachers, children and their parents in reading
texts critically to respond in a range of ways for a variety of purposes.
Teachers across all stages in the school are using the 6 categories of Bloom’s
Taxonomy to support the children in asking and answering a range of questions
and tackling a variety of tasks, to learn and practice all levels of thinking.
How can parents help their children to enhance their thinking skills at home?
In some classes, the teacher is making full use of the Literacy Hats in classroom work so is
focusing Homework tasks on other areas of the curriculum. However, homework tasks may
involve children asking or answering questions related to one or more of the Literacy Hats.
Below are some examples of question stems that may help you to help your children think of
their own questions related to the different coloured hats (the different levels of thinking).
There are also examples of the types of activities they may be asked to carry out to help them
to use the different levels of thinking.
Literacy Hat
Question Stems
How many...?
Who was it that...?
Describe what happened after…
Which is true or false...?
Can you explain why…?
Can you write in your own words?
How would you explain…?
What do you think could have
happened next...?
Do you know of another instance
Can you group by characteristics such
Which factors would you change if…?
What questions would you ask of…?
Which events could not have
If. ..happened, what might the ending
have been?
How is...similar to...?
What do you see as other possible
Is there a better solution to...?
What do you think about...?
Do you a good or bad thing?
How would you feel if. ..?
What are the pros and cons of....?
What are the alternatives?
Can you see a possible solution to...?
If you had access to all resources,
how would you deal with...?
What would happen if ...?
Can you create new and unusual uses
Can you develop a proposal which
Possible Activities
Make a list of the main events.
Make a timeline of events.
List all the …in the story.
Make a chart showing..
Make a mindmap of what you know
Illustrate what you think the main idea was.
Make a cartoon strip showing the sequence
of events.
Retell the story in your own words.
Write a summary report of an event.
Construct a model to demonstrate how it
looks or works
Practise a play and perform it for the class
Make a diorama to illustrate an event
Write a diary entry
Make a puzzle game using ideas from event
Construct a model to demonstrate how it will
Use a Venn Diagram to show how two topics
are the same and different
Survey classmates to find out what they
think about a particular topic. Analyse the
Make a flow chart to show the critical
Classify the actions of the characters
Write a letter to the editor
Prepare and conduct a debate
Prepare a list of criteria to judge…
Write a persuasive speech arguing
Evaluate the character’s actions in the story
Invent a machine to do a specific task.
Create a new product. Give it a name and
plan a marketing campaign.
Write about your feelings in relation to...
Write a TV show play, puppet show, role
play, song or pantomime about…
In our Primary 1 and Primary 2 classes the children may not have been introduced
to the Literacy Hats but their skills in asking and answering a range of questions,
as well as undertaking tasks to promote the different kinds of thinking will be
underway in preparation for the use of the Literacy Hats as they move through
the school.
Some classes are using a version of the grid below to introduce the children to
Literacy Hats tasks:
Task A
Give the story marks out
of ten. Write some
sentences to explain your
Task D
Draw a picture of your
favourite person in this
book. Write down his or
her name.
Task B
Draw a picture of your
favourite bit in the story.
Colour it in.
Task J
What do you think might
happen next in the story?
Write 3 sentences to
explain and draw a picture.
Task E
Make up three questions
you could ask someone
about this book to test if
they have read it
Task H
Before reading the book,
look at the front cover
and think of 3 questions
you would like to ask.
Write these questions in
your jotter.
Task K
Find 6 words from the
story that start with the
same first letter as your
Task M
Where was this story set?
Draw a picture of the
setting and write where it
Task N
Choose 5 words from the
story and write your own
rhyming word for each
Task G
Find 5 words in the book
that begin with the same
Task C
Write down three new
words you have learned
from the story.
Task F
Make up a sentence from
this book. Why did you like
this sentence?
Task I
How many characters were
in your story? Write down
their names in your jotter.
Draw a picture of your
favourite character.
Task L
Find another book that
might have the same
setting. (You may have this
book at home or visit the
local library) Read this book
at home.
Task O
Copy your favourite sentence
from the story. Why did you
choose this one?
A ‘Literacy Hats’ Parent Workshop is being held early in Term 4 to provide
further information about this approach – Finalised date and information to
What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?
In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a
classification of levels of intellectual behaviour important in learning. During the 1990's a new
group of cognitive psychologists, lead by Lorin Anderson (a former student of Bloom), updated
the taxonomy to reflect relevance to 21st century work. The taxonomy has been adapted for
classroom use as a planning tool. It provides a way to organise thinking skills into six levels,
from the most basic to the higher order levels of thinking. The Revised Blooms Taxonomy is
used to inform our teaching approaches and support children’s development of higher-order
thinking skills:
Generating new ideas, products, or ways of viewing things
Designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing.
Justifying a decision or course of action
Checking, hypothesising, critiquing, experimenting, judging
Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships
Comparing, organising, deconstructing, interrogating, finding
Using information in another familiar situation
Implementing, carrying out, using, executing
Explaining ideas or concepts
Interpreting, summarising, paraphrasing, classifying, explaining
Recalling information
Recognising, listing, describing, retrieving, naming, finding
How are the different categories of questions used in the classrooms?
Typically a teacher would vary the level of questions within a single lesson. Lower level
questions are those at the remembering, understanding and lower level application levels of the
taxonomy. Usually questions at the lower levels are appropriate for:
• Evaluating children’s comprehension
• Identifying children’s strengths and weaknesses
• Reviewing and/or summarising content
Higher level questions are those requiring complex application, analysis, evaluation or creation
skills. Questions at higher levels of the taxonomy are usually most appropriate for:
• Encouraging children to think more deeply and critically
• Problem solving
• Encouraging discussions
• Stimulating children to seek information on their own